RT+Q Architects’ 116th and latest completed house is a Good Class Bungalow (GCB) in the Gallop neighbourhood, on a cul-de-sac with just 10 houses.
The house was designed for an owner who is a keen gardener and art collector.
UPDATE: The house won the prestigious Design Award for a Residential Project at the 18th Singapore Institute of Archtiects Architectural Design Awards 2019 on July 19.
The dining and living area enjoy 180-degree view of the garden (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
“The homeowner wanted us to design a house that would be very different, one that would stand out,” says Koh Sock Mui, associate at RT+Q. “The approach we took was to design a house that would look like a sculpture set in a garden. Along the way, we also discovered that the owner likes curves; this is seen in her art collection around the house. We decided to incorporate it into the design of the house.”
The house had to accommodate a multi-generational family – the owner and her husband, her aged mother and her grown-up daughter. It was therefore important to have a balance of communal and private spaces, adds Koh.
The Good Class Bungalow has a curved glass facade (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Creating a head-turner
While the idea was to create a head-turner, the architects at RT+Q did not want a structure that was so imposing that it would overwhelm the streetscape. “That’s why we created something softer – an ovoid form with four fingers that extend out,” says Koh.
The main ovoid wing is where the living and dining room, kitchen, entertainment spaces and master suite are located. One of the wings or extensions has been designed as her daughter’s private quarters; the second, to accommodate the owner’s aged mother; the third, the pièce de résistance as it were, is an elevated swimming pool; and the fourth is a private balcony garden adjoining the master bedroom.
The pièce de résistance is an elevated swimming pool (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The design allows the main wing and each separate wing to have different pocket views of the garden, says Koh. While the house has a total built-up area of 12,300 sq ft, its footprint allows for generous landscaping on the freehold, 15,700 sq ft site. The GCB was just completed at the end of last year.
Sitting at the core of the main wing is a 12m-high atrium spanning the basement to the top level of the house, with glass bridges traversing the first and second levels. Although the atrium was initially conceptualised as an art gallery for the owner, the space has been deliberately kept as “a pure white cube – an orchestration of light, air and space”, says Koh. RT+Q has dubbed it, “House with a Sanctum”.
Sitting at the core of the main wing is a 12m-high atrium spanning the basement to the top level of the houTse, with glass bridges traversing the first and second levels. RT+Q has named it 'House with a Sanctum' (Credut: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
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Elements of surprise
Besides the sanctum, the house has many elements of surprise. For instance, the main entrance of the house on the first level leads to a teak panelled reception area. This opens out to an expansive living and dining room with a curved glass façade that offers a 180-degree view of the garden. “The husband is happy now because he feels that he’s surrounded by his garden,” says Koh. “Previously, the living room had more walls.”
Concealed behind the panelled walls of the reception area is a shoe wardrobe and a powder room.
The sanctum, which looks like a floating cube, is contrasted with a sculptural, elliptical staircase. Within the sanctum, the glass bridge on the first level leads from the reception area to the dry kitchen. The dry kitchen is connected to every part of the house – it has a concealed entrance leading directly to the living and dining area. It is linked to the wet kitchen.
The wet kitchen with glass door opening out to the yard (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Sliding glass doors open out to the yard, for easy access to the other two wings of the house – the aged mother’s and the daughter’s wings. The yard is also where the resident parrot named Moses, holds court.
The daughter’s wing has a separate entrance from the basement garage. It is designed as a self-contained apartment with her own shoe wardrobe and lounge on the lower level. On the second level is a private workplace, a spacious bedroom with walk-in wardrobe and bathroom offering views of the garden. Yet, she is assured of her privacy, says Koh.
The panoramic view of the garden from the master bedroom (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/Edpgeop Sinpore)
In the main wing, the glass bridge on the second level of the sanctum leads to the master suite. The master suite is designed as an inner sanctum with a door that looks like mural. Within the master suite are “his and hers” walk-in wardrobes that connect to the master bathroom and the master bedroom.
There is also an en suite private study for the couple. The master bedroom is designed to have a panoramic view of the garden. There is also a glass door opening out to a “green house”. “Designed as a private balcony for the owner, it’s where she loves to go every morning; to do some gardening or read a book, with the birds singing in the background,” says Koh.
The "green house" is an extension of the master bedroom (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Next to the master bathroom is an entrance that leads to the swimming pool. Being elevated, the swimming pool looks like it’s floating and is angled such that the owner will enjoy an unblocked view while swimming.
One of the rooms on the second level has been turned into a boardroom. The basement level has been designated the entertainment area. There is a theatrette for screening movies and an adjoining lounge. Disguised as a pillar tucked in a corner of the basement, is an elliptical powder room. The carpark in the basement level can comfortably accommodate four cars. However, it has the capacity to fit eight cars. Bringing light to the basement level is a skylight and stairs leading to the garden which illuminates the area.
The basement carpark has the capacity for parking eight cars (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
It’s therefore not just the sanctum, but the entire house offers an interesting play on light, air and space. “The project is an attempt to push the envelope for landed housing in land-scarce Singapore – a house that reaches beyond the boxy functionality that we see everywhere,” says Koh.
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